The SEC Reacts to COVID-19
Over the last few weeks, the SEC identified key initiatives it is implementing to address the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the nation and its financial markets. https://www.sec.gov/sec-coronavirus-covid-19-response The Commission stressed that it has remained fully operational and continues to process normal daily activities while undertaking additional initiatives to combat the impact of COVID-19. Id. It is continuously issuing new orders in response to the fast-changing landscape.
On March 10, the Commission began transitioning its employees to a telework posture, which is now fully functional. Id. It continues to create new taskforces to monitor markets and engage with market participants to understand actual market impacts as well as to forecast potential impacts. Id. The SEC is also working to provide guidance to market participants and targeted regulatory assistance to vulnerable or critical areas. Id. The Commission is also continuing to investigate and bring enforcement actions, including issuing trading suspensions related to COVID-19. Id.
Recently, the Commission announced it relaxed certain deadlines and requirements. In particular, the SEC:
will consider comments submitted after a comment period closes and allow additional time for comments on select pending actions. Click here for a list of the select pending actions;
temporarily relaxed implementation requirements of consolidated audit trail (CAT) systems so that market participants and broker-dealers can focus energy and resources on business continuity plans, operational readiness, and reducing operational risk stemming from the pandemic, https://www.sec.gov/news/public-statement/statement-clayton-cat-covid-19-nal-cybersecurity-2020-03-17;
suspended CAT compliance enforcement through May 20, 2020, id.;
is addressing the need to grant extensions to or relief from certain delivery and filing obligations, see, e.g., https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2020-53, https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2020-62, https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2020-63, https://www.sec.gov/rules/other/2020/34-88318.pdf; and
is providing conditional relief from certain in-person meeting and advance notice requirements, see, e.g., https://www.sec.gov/investment/staff-statement-im-covid-19, https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2020-62, https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2020-63